Tidbits on October 13, 2005
Bob Jensen at Trinity University
Fraud Updates ---
For earlier editions of New Bookmarks go to
Archives of Tidbits: Tidbits Directory ---
Click here to search Bob Jensen's web site if you have key words to enter ---
For example if you want to know what Jensen documents have the term "Enron"
enter the phrase Jensen AND Enron. Another search engine that covers Trinity and
other universities is at
Bob Jensen's home page is
Security threats and hoaxes ---
25 Hottest Urban Legends (hoaxes) ---
Click here for commercialization corruption of higher education
Click here for business school ranking controversies ---
In the past I've provided links to various types of music
available free on the Web.
I created a page that summarizes those various links ---
Retirement Music: Some days you can't win ---
Classical Music Glossary with
downloadable samples for many music terms ---
For me some downloads did not play as promised.
Short jazz clips ---
Weird sounds if you're into that
sort of thing (not for me) ---
If only dreams came true: Imagine All the People ---
If the sound does not commence after 30 seconds, scroll to the bottom of the
page and turn it on.
Train of Life
(Willie Nelson and Patsy Cline)
An Editor's Pick from NPR ---
As a stadium anthem, it's not exactly "Take Me Out to
the Ballgame." Susan Orlean visits Boston's Fenway Park to unlock the secret
connection between the Red Sox, their loyal fans and singer Neil Diamond's 1969
Baseball Play-by-Play, Back in the Day
Sensitive Light Photography (these are great) ---
Fine Art Infrared Photography ---
High Speed Photography ---
Katrina victims on a Carnival cruse: Taxpayers get taken for the
When it was announced in the media that thousands of Katrina victims
were going to be housed in three (docked) luxurious Carnival cruise ships I
initially thought this was a great act of corporate benevolence. But now
it smells more like a corporate rip-off. To date FEMA has paid Carnival
Cruise Lines $236 million for six months of housing of evacuees according to
Time Magazine, October 10, 2005, Page 15. At current occupancy rates,
that averages out to $2,550 per person per week. On average, Carnival
charges $599 for a one-week cruise in the Western Caribbean from Galveston.
And on a normal cruise, Carnival must bear the added cost of fuel, feasts,
bands, and booze. The Katrina victim cruise to nowhere is commencing to
smell like a taxpayer rip-off.
There goes the competition: Blackboard and WebCT will merge
Merger mania hit the higher education technology
market again Thursday, as the leading provider of learning management systems,
Blackboard, Inc., said it would acquire its top competitor, WebCT, Inc., for
$180 million. When the two join forces in the next few months, the combined
company will bear the Blackboard name but continue to support both companies’
products for the foreseeable future, to keep disruption to current clients to a
minimum, the two companies said.
Doug Lederman, "Blackboard, WebCT to Merge," Inside Higher Ed, October
13, 2005 ---
"Vendetta Against Lesbians?" by David Epstein, Inside Higher Ed,
October 13, 2005 ---
But looking back on her first
conversation that year with Penn State women’s basketball
Rene Portland, Pearl Harris,
Jennifer’s mother, recalls a passing comment by Portland
that she took little note of at the time, but which she now
sees as a sign of events that culminated in her daughter
leaving Penn State last spring, toward the end of her
“She said I
could rest assured that there were no gay individuals on her
basketball team,” Pearl Harris recalled. At the time,
Jennifer was also considering another university, and
Portland told her that the coach at the other institution
recruited lesbians – a scare tactic that may not be
“I hear about that kind of negative
recruiting all the time,” said Pat Griffin, a professor of
social justice education at the University of Massachusetts
at Amherst, and director of
It Takes a Team, a project from
the Women’s Sports Foundation that promotes education about
sexual orientation issues in women’s sports. “It’s very
common that if the coach knows that athlete is considering
another team, they’ll tell them not to go because they have
lesbians in their program,” Griffin said. “What’s changed is
that some athletes and their families won’t tolerate it
anymore, and speak up, like Jennifer Harris.”
Portland is known as a top women’s
basketball coach. She’s also known for her anti-gay
comments, which go back much further than Harris. In the
late 1980s and up until 1991, Portland acknowledged in
newspaper articles that she did not want lesbians on her
team. A profile of Portland in 1991 by The Philadelphia
Inquirer prompted Penn State to expand its
anti-discrimination policy to cover sexual orientation.
After that, Portland, the two-time Women’s Basketball
Coaches Association coach of the year, said she would abide
by the policy.
Continued in Article
October 17, 2005 update
Rene Portland, the Pennsylvania State University women’s
by Jennifer Harris, a former player, that Portland kicked her
off the team because she thought Harris was a lesbian.
Portland’s statement said she “felt the need” to tell everybody
that Harris was dismissed for “her attitude in relation to
basketball,” including disrespecting coaches and teammates, and
her “performance in the classroom.” A
statement from the National Center
for Lesbian Rights said it was “saddened” by Portland’s “attempt
to divert attention.”
Inside Higher Ed, October 17, 2005 ---
The hard right, like fundamentalists of every ilk,
would rather be ideologically pure than successful
What's interesting to me is that most of these wounds are
self-inflicted. They draw a picture of a party that, for all
its seeming dominance, isn't prepared to be the nation's
governing party. The hard right, which is the soul of the
modern GOP, would rather be ideologically pure than
successful. Governing requires making compromises and
occasionally getting your hands dirty, but the conservative
purists disdain those qualities. They swim for that beach
with a fiercely misguided determination, and they demand
that the other whales accompany them.
David Ignatius, "Self-Inflicted Wounds," The Wall Street
Journal, October 12, 2005 ---
An excess of idealism only seems to prove that the
golden age of the Web is, in fact, right now
And all just under 15 years since the internet
ceased to be a thing - a network of computers - and became a place. That was
when Tim Berners-Lee, a British scientist based in Switzerland, developed a way
of linking documents to each other in a big web. That was when the frontier to a
new society was opened. That was when it became possible for Jamie McCoy to swap
a patch of the Embankment for a plot of the web. The size of Jamie's audience
depends on who has linked to him. And blogging is all about links, a line of
code that turns a piece of information into a destination, a refutation, a
rebuttal, a recommendation. One new blog is started every couple of seconds. The
total number is hard to estimate because no one agrees on the definition. Around
15 million is a conservative guess. The total number of pages on the web is
around 600 billion, or 100 per person on the planet. The number of people with
some access to the web is around one billion.
Rafael Behr ---
(I thank Scott Bonacker for guiding me to this interesting article)
I hope I am wrong. I listen to today's web gurus,
the people who preach freedom, and am fired with enthusiasm for the new digital
society of the future. But I fear the odds are against them. An excess of
idealism only seems to prove that the golden age of the web is, in fact, right
Rafael Behr ---
(I thank Scott Bonacker for guiding me to this interesting article)
What if Casanova wore Haptic love britches/breeches?
Haptic sports garments, which use tactile
signals to prompt the wearer to optimise their technique or to use specific
muscle groups, are now being tested on rowers. Eventually, sensors in the
garments will measure the speed at which the rower moves and how they coordinate
their leg and body movements. If the rower deviates from the optimum speed or
rhythm, pads worn at the ankle and waist start vibrating at the correct stroke
intervals to help the rower recapture the winning action.
"Clothing gives sportsmen a kick up the pants," New Scientist, September
29, 2005 ---
Medicine in the Americas, 1619-1914 (history) ---
Can toxic mold cause serious injury if it is not consumed in food?
They concluded that no credible medical
evidence has emerged to link mold exposure to the wide range of serious
medical conditions associated with . "We know that
mold can make people sick if they end up in the foods they eat," Oregon
Health & Science University professor of medicine Emil J. Bardana Jr.,
MD, tells WebMD. "But there is
that have been
attributed to it."
Salynn Boyles, "Study Questions Reality of 'Toxic Mold' Illness:
Researchers Found Other Explanations for Sickness, WebMD,
September 30, 2005 ---
Old folks to get reduced medical benefits
Reversing her earlier decision, a federal judge
ruled that companies may offer younger retirees better health-care benefits than
they give older retirees who qualify for Medicare. AARP, the lobbying group for
seniors, sued over the rule change proposed by the Equal Employment Opportunity
Commission on grounds that unequal health packages amount to age discrimination.
"Judge Reverses Ruling Affecting Retiree Benefits," The Wall Street Journal,
September 29, 2005; Page D2 ---
MSU links salary raises with medical plan cost increases
Many college administrators these days tell
employees that one reason they can’t provide more money for salaries is that
health insurance expenses keep rising. And many college employees don’t entirely
trust the explanation. Michigan State University has crafted an unusual approach
to this conflict. Members of nine of the unions that represent workers at the
university have agreed to link their salary increases to the cost increases
faced by the university in health insurance. Michigan State administrators —
along with a union leader — described the arrangement in Orlando Tuesday at the
annual meeting of the College and University Professional Association for Human
Scott Jaschik, "A Labor-Management Deal on Health Care," Inside Higher Ed,
September 28, 2005 ---
I've never been in favor of such compensation deals, because
they will probably be designed in a way that harms
non-participants in a college health benefit plan. In
academe there are many employees who opt out of the health care
plan. Usually this is because a spouse is contributing to
an off-campus plan that is better for the entire family.
If all salary raises are held down due to increases in the costs
of a college's medical plan, this is an unfair transfer from
non-participants in the medical plan to participants in the
medical plan. In fairness, non-participants should get
higher raises which, I'm certain, would raise a stir on most any
There's a teensy-tiny little red speck on Google's search
page. What's its
"Google Shows How To Get Personal in An Unobtrusive Way," by
Frank Ahrens, The Washington Post, October 2, 2005 ---
Take a look high up in the
right-hand corner of Google's search page. There, you'll
see a link for "Personalized Home." There's a
teensy-tiny little red speck next to it. If you look
closely, you'll see it reads "New!" Maybe it's modesty,
maybe it's all part of some nefarious plan to lull us
into thinking Google is benevolent before they
commandeer our thoughts (Gmail version 2.0?), but the
omnipresent site seems opposed to using itself to
After finding the link, users
are directed to a version of the main Google page that
has started to fill up. It consists of a basic template,
including places for news headlines and weather. Also, a
word and quote of the day, from your philosopher-kings,
Google founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page.
The page is self-explanatory:
"Personalize your Google homepage," reads a prominent
link. Clicking on the link shoves the main page to the
right, exposing a left-hand rail of categories -- news,
technology, lifestyle and so on, each with a handful of
links to Web sites in the category. Links that doubtless
do business with Google. (Disclosure: The Washington
Post is one of the offered news sites.)
When clicked, the selected Web
site appears on the main page to the right, with three
top stories underneath. Each link can be dragged around
your now-forming personal Google page and placed where
desired. Thus, you assemble your page, block by block.
The page also lets users enter
non-listed Web sites by address to create a category of
bookmarked pages. A search field allows users to
assemble a page by topic. A handy weather section is to
the right, allowing you -- in theory -- to watch the
weather in as many cities as you input. However, as this
appears to be an early version of the site, weather
reports are limited only to U.S. cities.
Google's new personalized page
seems, at first glance, to be wildly unsophisticated and
primitive compared to portals such as Yahoo and Lycos,
which bristle and pop with links and video and other
geegaws. But Google gets addition by subtraction: It has
what I want and only what I want, which most importantly
includes no ads floating, crawling, flying or slithering
across my nice, white page.
From The Washington Post on October 3, 2005
How many blogs does blogging
search engine Technorati index?
Bob Jensen's threads on Weblogs and blogs are at
Harvard Center for Population and Development Studies ---
Some new university programs ---
Are you getting stuck in traffic jams in your city?
You may want to check out the following:
One of the leaders in this market,
(previously Mobility Technologies), recently announced
plans for an initial public offering. And a flurry of other activity may mean
this is a corner of the information services market to keep an eye on.
Traffic.com provides real-time traffic information in 24 of the country's
largest metropolitan areas. It owns, and continues to expand, a wireless digital
sensor network for collecting traffic and logistics data.
Jon Burke, "Traffic Taming," MIT's Technology Review, October 3, 2005 ---
Excerpt from Saving Higher Education in the Age of Money
by James Engell and Anthony Dangerfield (University of Virginia Press, 2005, ISBN
LEADING THE SELF INTO THE WORLD
Each one of us is always in peril of not being the unique and
untransferable self which he is. The majority of men perpetually
betray this self which is waiting to be; and to tell the whole truth
our personal individuality is a personage which is never completely
realized, a stimulating Utopia, a secret legend, which each of us guards at
the bottom of his heart.
GASSET, "THE SELF AND THE OTHER," 1939
(TRANSLATED BY WILLARD R. TRASK)
The most authoritative, trusted study on the
subject of student expectations and motives, a yearly poll of college-bound
high school graduates conducted by the Higher Education Research Institute
at UCLA, reveals that in thirty years, from the late 1960s to the late
1990s, a total flip-flop occurred. Of all freshmen entering college, the
number who expect higher education to enhance future job security and assure
high-wage employment increased during those three decades from about 20
percent to 80 percent. At the same time, those who expect to develop
values, form a broader social vision, experiment with varied forms of
knowledge, and formulate a philosophy of living slid from 80 percent to 20
percent. In 1998 three-quarters of all freshmen cited most frequently, and
by a significant margin, as a "very important reason" they decided to go to
(a) to make more money
(75 percent), and
(b) to get a better job
In 2002 these percentages remained almost the
same. In 1998 fewer than half saw improved reading skills or becoming more
cultured as strong motivations at all. In 2002 the one final objective
considered "essential" or "very important" and identified by male freshmen
more than any other (75.3 percent) was "being very well-off financially,"
which outranked raising a family. For female freshmen, raising a family
barely edged out being very well off financially as their top choice. For
men and women, the six lowest objectives considered important were
"influencing the political structure," helping "clean up the environment,"
"making a theoretical contribution to science," "becoming accomplished in
one of the performing arts," creating artistic work," and, last and least,
"writing original works" (American Freshman; CHE Almanac 2003). As
early as 1980, Arthur Levine, writing for the Carnegie Council series and
entitling his study When Dreams and Heroes Died: A Portrait of Today's
College Student, noted several distinct trends set in motion in the late
1970s. Grade inflation (see chap. 5) and careerism rose. Altruism and
basic skills fell.
Click here for more on commercialization corruption of higher education
This could be hair raising for bald men
A single protein can help a bald mouse sprout a
coat of fur, a new study suggests. Researchers working with genetically hairless
mice have successfully coaxed hair growth, results that provide a better
understanding of the mammalian hair cycle. Hair is normally maintained through a
process that depends on the regeneration of tiny hair follicles. For humans and
mice that have mutations in the Hairless gene, hair growth starts out normally,
but once a strand is shed it cannot grow back. But just how Hairless controls
the follicle regeneration process was unclear. Catherine C. Thompson of the
Kennedy Krieger Research Institute and her colleagues determined that the
Hairless protein is normally expressed in progenitor cells that are key for the
rest and regrowth phases of follicles. When the team provided the protein to
these types of cells in mice genetically modified to lack hair (see image, top),
the animals eventually grew a coat of thick fur (see image, bottom).
"Protein Gives Bald Mice Luxurious Locks," Scientific American, September
27, 2005 ---
The measures were "bureaucracy gone mad"
Viewing of newborns should be a somber affair: No cooing allowed
A West Yorkshire hospital has banned visitors from
cooing at new-born babies over fears their human rights are being breached and
to reduce infection. A statement from Calderdale Royal Hospital in Halifax said
staff had held an advice session to highlight the need for respect and dignity
for patients. On one ward there is a doll featuring the message: "What makes you
think I want to be looked at?" But Labour MP Linda Riordan said the measures
were "bureaucracy gone mad".
"Cooing at new-born babies banned," BBC News, September 26, 2005 ---
Time to grow up: Kentucky women instigate a not-so-funny poopy prank
An alleged prank by two former workers at an Estill
County nursing home could send them to prison. Lisa Kilburn, 27, and Kim
Congleton, 30, both certified nursing assistants at Irvine Health and
Rehabilitation Center, are accused of giving laxatives to patients who did not
need them. The intended targets of the prank were nursing assistants on the next
shift, Attorney General Greg Stumbo said in a statement, calling the conduct “an
outrage to human decency and dignity.” Elderly and medically fragile patients
who were given the suppositories reported pain and rectal bleeding. As many as
eight patients were affected, said Vicki Glass, spokeswoman for the attorney
general’s office. The alleged incident occurred Oct. 18, 2004. The nursing home
reported the incident to state and local authorities, said Glenn Cox, its
Peter Matthews, "Laxative prank could put former nursing home workers in jail,"
Kentucky.com, September 27, 2005 ---
The quizzical expression of the monkey at the zoo
comes from his wondering whether he is his brother's keeper, or his keeper's
Evan Esar as quoted by Mark Shapiro at
Find out more about Intelligent Design (ID) origins which, in my viewpoint,
divert our attention from serious science and serious motivation for our
children to understand science ---
Also see "To Debate or Not to Debate Intelligent Design?" by Gerald Graff,
Inside Higher Ed, September 28, 2005 ---
"GERMAN SCIENTISTS IN US: WE'LL COME HOME IF CONDITIONS IMPROVE." Deutsche
Presse, September 28, 2005 ---
A group of German scientists working in U.S. have
sent an open letter to German education authorities saying that they would
return to their homeland - but only working conditions improve there, a
report coming out Thursday said.
The letter, titled ``The Future of Science'' and
signed by more than 100 German scientists in the United States, said the
weekly Die Zeit newspaper.
Its initiator was the German Scholars Organization
(GSO), an association of German scientists in North America.
Eicke Weber, the GSO head and a professor of
material sciences at the University of California-Berkeley estimated that 80
per cent of young German scientists in the U.S. would prefer to teach and do
research in their homeland, the report said.
The number of German scientists potentially
involved is not small: the report says about 6,000 young Germans are working
at American universities and other institutes.
Supporters of the letter include Wolfgang Ketterle,
a German native and winner of the Nobel Prize for Physics in 2001 who is at
the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).
The scientists say in their letter that professors
in Germany should be chosen in transparent procedures and by commissions
that include non-Germans.
Continued in article
Project Gutenberg ---
Project Gutenberg is the brainchild of Michael Hart, who in 1971 decided that it
would be a really good idea if lots of famous and important texts were freely
available to everyone in the world. Since then, he has been joined by hundreds
of volunteers who share his vision. Now, more than thirty years later, Project
Gutenberg has the following figures (as of November 8th 2002): 203 New eBooks
released during October 2002, 1975 New eBooks produced in 2002 (they were 1240
in 2001) for a total of 6267 Total Project Gutenberg eBooks. 119 eBooks have
been posted so far by Project Gutenberg of Australia.
Bob Jensen's links to electronic books and journals are at
"The Year of Spending Dangerously," by Jeff Flake (Republican Representative
from Arizona), The Wall Street Journal, September 28, 2005; Page A16 ---
Traipsing down a flower-strewn path unpricked by
the thorns of reason.
Perhaps no adage more accurately describes Congress
right now. In the midst of a national debate on how to pay for hundreds of
billions of dollars to rebuild hurricane ravaged communities, it has
blithely authorized $2 billion for H.R. 250, "A bill to establish an
interagency committee to coordinate federal manufacturing research."
There is virtue in getting back to "business as
usual" after a tragedy -- if it is a business you ought to be in. But lavish
spending on questionable programs should have been out of step with
Republican principles before these two hurricanes struck. From any vantage
point outside the Washington Beltway, it now looks even more out of place.
How did we get here? Is this the same party that
just 10 years ago insisted on dollar-for-dollar spending offsets for its $15
billion response to the Northridge, Calif., earthquake -- with the
California Republican delegation leading the charge? Where did we go wrong?
And how do we convince the voters in the midterm elections that two more
years of Republican control will produce anything more than bigger
government and growing deficits?
Is it enough to reflect on the halcyon days prior
to 9/11 when we delivered an impressive package of tax cuts? "What have you
done for us lately?" the voters might ask. Simple: We have spent so
profligately since then that it is becoming politically difficult to fully
implement the tax cuts.
When we refuse, in the aftermath of Katrina and
Rita, to consider postponing a universal prescription drug benefit that we
could ill-afford prior to the devastation, and reject out of hand a national
consensus that we reopen the infamous Highway Bill and finance the
rebuilding of the bridge over Lake Pontchartrain in Louisiana by canceling
the Bridge to Nowhere in Alaska, we can hardly blame the voters for
questioning our fiscal bona fides.
In the end, it probably won't matter much at the
polls. Owing to the limited number of competitive seats nationwide, a shift
large enough to jeopardize the Republican majority is unlikely. Furthermore,
endemic Democratic ineptitude makes Republicans more attractive when graded
on a curve. An understanding of this reality may explain the GOP's
reluctance to assume its traditional limited-government mantle.
But there is much more at stake here than ballot
victory or defeat. In the ashes of 9/11, we set a dangerous precedent that
any victim of a terrorist act would be made whole, economically and
otherwise, by the federal government. In the wake of Katrina/Rita, we risk
setting an even more unsustainable precedent that it is the responsibility
of the federal government to ensure that victims of natural disasters are
made whole as well.
After the next tornado in Kansas or wildfire in
Arizona, these communities will assert similar claims on the nation's
Treasury, and a compassionate Congress will have no right to ignore their
petition. And then?
Whether we want to admit it or not, the Republican
Congress's failure to discipline itself is sending us all down a
flower-strewn path to financial insolvency. That the Democrats would get us
there faster should be of little consolation to anyone.
"Heart of Darkness," by Fouad Ajami, The Wall Street Journal,
September 28, 2005; Page A16 ---
Zarqawi's war, it has to be conceded, is not his
alone; he kills and maims, he labels the Shiites rafida (rejecters of
Islam), he charges them with treason as "collaborators of the occupiers and
the crusaders," but he can be forgiven the sense that he is a holy warrior
on behalf of a wider Arab world that has averted its gaze from his crimes,
that has given him its silent approval. He and the band of killers arrayed
around him must know the meaning of this great Arab silence.
There is a cliché that distinguishes between
cultures of shame and cultures of guilt, and by that crude distinction, it
has always been said that the Arab world is a "shame culture." But in truth
there is precious little shame in Arab life about the role of the Arabs in
the great struggle for and within Iraq. What is one to make of the
Damascus-based Union of Arab Writers that has refused to grant membership in
its ranks to Iraqi authors? The pretext that Iraqi writers can't be
"accredited" because their country is under American occupation is as good
an illustration as it gets of the sordid condition of Arab culture. For more
than three decades, Iraq's life was sheer and limitless terror, and the
Union of Arab Writers never uttered a word. Through these terrible decades,
Iraqis suffered alone, and still their poetry and literature adorn Arabic
letters. They need no acknowledgment of their pain, or of their genius, from
a literary union based in a city in the grip of a deadening autocracy.
A culture of shame would surely see into the shame
of an Arab official class with no tradition of accountability granting
itself the right to hack away at Iraq's constitution, dismissing it as the
handiwork of the American regency. Unreason, an indifference to the most
basic of facts, and a spirit of belligerence have settled upon the Arab
world. Those who, in Arab lands beyond Iraq, have taken to describing the
Iraqi constitution as an "American-Iranian constitution," give voice to a
debilitating incoherence. At the heart of this incoherence lies an adamant
determination to deny the Shiites of Iraq a claim to their rightful place in
their country's political order.
The drumbeats against Iraq that originate from the
League of Arab States and its Egyptian apparatchiks betray the panic of an
old Arab political class afraid that there is something new unfolding in
Iraq -- a different understanding of political power and citizenship, a
possible break with the culture of tyranny and the cult of Big Men disposing
of the affairs -- and the treasure -- of nations. It is pitiable that an
Egyptian political class that has abdicated its own dream of modernity and
bent to the will of a pharaonic regime is obsessed with the doings in Iraq.
But this is the political space left open by the master of the realm. To be
sure, there is terror in the streets of Iraq; there is plenty there for the
custodians of a stagnant regime in Cairo to point to as a cautionary tale of
what awaits societies that break with "secure" ways. But the Egyptian
autocracy knows the stakes. An Iraqi polity with a modern social contract
would be a rebuke to all that Egypt stands for, a cruel reminder of the
heartbreak of Egyptians in recent years. We must not fall for Cairo's claims
of primacy in Arab politics; these are hollow, and Iraq will further expose
the rot that has settled upon the political life of Egypt.
Nor ought we be taken in by warnings from Jordan,
made by King Abdullah II, of a "Shia crescent" spanning Iran, Iraq, Syria
and Lebanon. This is a piece of bigotry and simplification unworthy of a
Hashemite ruler, for in the scheme of Arab history the Hashemites have been
possessed of moderation and tolerance. Of all Sunni Arab rulers, the
Hashemites have been particularly close to the Shiites, but popular opinion
in Jordan has been thoroughly infatuated with Saddam Hussein, and Saddamism,
and an inexperienced ruler must have reasoned that the Shiite bogey would
play well at home.
Continued in article
Evidence that China may be taking a lead in education and research
Advanced Theory of Options Pricing (from China)
From the unique perspective of partial differential
equations (PDE), this self-contained book presents a systematic, advanced
introduction to the Black–Scholes–Merton’s option pricing theory. A unified
approach is used to model various types of option pricing as PDE problems, to
derive pricing formulas as their solutions, and to design efficient algorithms
from the numerical calculation of PDEs. In particular, the qualitative and
quantitative analysis of American option pricing is treated based on free
boundary problems, and the implied volatility as an inverse problem is solved in
the optimal control framework of parabolic equations.
MATHEMATICAL MODELING AND METHODS OF OPTION PRICING, by Lishang Jiang (Tongji
University, China) ---
This book introduces research students and
practitioners to the intuitive but rigorous hypermodel techniques in finance. It
is based on Robinson's infinitesimal analysis, which is easily grasped by anyone
with as little background as first-year calculus. It covers topics such as
pricing derivative securities (including the Black–Scholes formula), hedging,
term structure models of interest rates, consumption and equilibrium. The reader
is introduced to mathematical tools needed for the aforementioned topics.
Mathematical proofs and details are given in an appendix. Some programs in
MATHEMATICA are also included.
HYPERMODELS IN MATHEMATICAL FINANCE: Modelling via Infinitesimal
Analysis," by Siu-Ah Ng ---
If aren't confused by telephone alternatives and acronyms, you just haven't
studied this morass
"A Guide to Cellphone Technobabble: How to Navigate Choices In Phones,
Data Networks; Knowing SMS From MMS," by Walter Mossberg, The Wall Street
Journal, September 28, 2005; Page D10 ---
Flip vs. Candy Bar:
Almost all cellphones fall into one of these two categories, which
relate to the cellphone's shape. Flip phones, also known as
clamshell phones, open and close on a hinge, protecting the phone's
numeric keypad from accidental dialing. Candy-bar phones are
rectangular in shape and operate without having to flip open.
Electronic key locks prevent accidental dialing on a candy-bar
phone's always-exposed number pad.
Smart Phones: This
term varies from company to company, but it generally describes a
phone that has sophisticated email and Web-browsing capabilities and
very strong organizer functions, like those of a PDA, in addition to
the normal voice calling features. The best example of a smart phone
is the Palm Treo, which is essentially a little computer, with a
full keyboard and the ability to handle email, Web browsing, instant
messaging, calendar and contacts, and synchronization with a PC.
Video Phones: Major
cellphone carriers are hustling to get video services up and running
on their networks, and the carriers each use different names for
this service. But this capability to watch snippets of preselected,
prerecorded television on your cellphone's screen costs extra and
currently too often consists of stuttering, shaky footage that takes
too long to load, making it more trouble than it's worth. Prime
examples of such services are Mobi-TV and Verizon's V Cast.
Music Phones: Many
cellphones can play music, but so-called music phones are designed
to work like an iPod, allowing you to store and play back large
numbers of real songs -- not just ringtones -- through music-player
software. Most such phones are clumsy and limited, but they will
likely improve, because several of the wireless carriers hope to
start competing with Apple to sell downloaded songs. Top examples
today are the Motorola ROKR, which uses Apple software, and the
Sony-Ericsson Walkman phone.
Ringback vs. Ringtone:
Ringtones, or songs that play out loud when your phone rings, have
become so common that no one seems to notice when a pop or rock tune
suddenly sounds from someone's pocket in the elevator.
Ringbacks, however, aren't
yet as common. If you buy a ringback song to use on your cellphone
(each costs a couple bucks and may require a small monthly fee),
people calling you hear that song instead of the plain ringing tone
most of us expect. These new tunes add some variety, but might
confuse people not in the know, causing unwanted hang-ups. Be sure
to tell your friends or family if you get a ringback, or assign the
ringback only to certain callers' numbers.
World Phone: These are
models that work both in foreign countries -- including Europe and,
in some cases, Asia -- and the U.S.
SMS, MMS: Short
Messaging Services, popularly referred to as "text messaging," offer
a way to send text-only notes from one phone to the next. These data
messages can cost extra if not incorporated in your cellphone plan,
and they are usually limited to 160 characters.
Multimedia Messaging Services
use short messages that include types of media other than text --
such as photos, videos and audio clips. As more cellphones are being
sold with digital still and video cameras, MMS is becoming more
popular, but it's still difficult to use in the U.S., especially
between phones of different carrier networks.
* * *
Now, for the harder stuff,
the technobabble terminology cellphone marketers use to describe
their technologies. Here are some brief, general definitions.
3G: This term stands
for "third generation," and represents the fastest data-processing
digital phones available, supposedly akin to having a broadband
Internet connection on your cellphone. This term may have a precise
engineering definition, but it has been distorted by so many
marketing departments that it means wildly different things on
different networks and in different countries. Generally, companies
now label their fastest networks and phones "3G," but the term is of
little help to consumers.
GSM: GSM, or global
system for mobile communications, is the digital technology used by
every wireless carrier in Europe and in many other areas outside the
U.S. In the U.S., major wireless carriers confusingly run on two
incompatible wireless technologies instead of one. Only two of the
four major American carriers use GSM: Cingular and T-Mobile. And
their version of GSM is slightly different from the one used in
Europe, so even if you have a GSM phone in the U.S., it may not work
characteristic of GSM phones is the SIM card, a sliver of plastic
with a chip inside that slips into the back of the phone and stores
account information and contacts. This saves GSM users time when
they buy new phones; the SIM card can simply be removed, and its
contents come with it onto the new device.
CDMA: Stands for code
division multiple access. CDMA is the main competitor to GSM. It is
most heavily used in the U.S., where it drives the networks of two
of the big four carriers: Verizon Wireless and Sprint. CDMA is also
used in a few other countries, notably South Korea and, to some
extent, Japan. But, as with GSM, implementations of CDMA in
different companies differ and aren't always compatible. Unlike GSM
phones, CDMA phones don't use removable data cards to store account
* * *
Both GSM and CDMA are
evolving. Each is now available in new variations, identified by
confusing new acronyms, that increase their speeds for data
functions such as email and Web browsing, and for downloading or
streaming music and video. These new, faster variations do little or
nothing for regular voice phone calls. Right now, the CDMA carriers
are ahead in the U.S., with the fastest data technology, called EV-DO.
But the GSM carriers hope to catch up and take the lead with an
emerging system called HSDPA. Here are some of the terms used for
these high-speed networks.
GPRS: This is a
version of GSM that offers slightly faster data speeds for email and
Web browsing, around the speed of a dial-up home modem, or 50
kilobits per second.
improvement in data speeds for GSM networks and phones. It typically
runs at about 100 kilobits per second, which is about twice as fast
as a dial-up home modem.
HSDPA: This technology
-- whose full name is "high speed downlink packet access" -- is the
next big jump in data speeds for GSM networks and phones. It is
being rolled out in a few countries and is being tested in the U.S.
It is the first GSM variation that will offer true broadband speeds,
expected to reach several megabits per second in real daily use.
1xRTT: This technology
is a slightly speedier form of CDMA, measuring a little faster than
dial-up speeds on a home computer. At around 70 kilobits per second,
it is a little faster than GPRS, but a little slower than EDGE.
EV-DO: This is the
fastest cellphone data technology available in the U.S., and is
available only on CDMA networks from Verizon Wireless and Sprint. At
typical speeds of 500-700 kilobits per second, it is the first true
broadband wireless network in the U.S. that has been widely
deployed, about as fast as most wired DSL connections in homes.
EV-DO, which stands for
"evolution -- data only," is up to 10 times as fast as 1xRTT and
offers about triple the typical speeds of the fastest widely
deployed networks in Europe. EV-DO is especially popular with "road
warriors," because they can use an EV-DO card on their laptops and
get broadband speed even when they are nowhere near a Wi-Fi "hot
spot." Verizon's EV-DO network is now in about 65 cities and scores
of airports. Sprint's is just getting started.
New Kodak camera failed two out of three times at Walt's home
"Wi-Fi Camera Offers Email, Quality Photos, But Still Needs Work," by Walter
Mossberg, The Wall Street Journal, September 29, 2005; Page B1 ---
If a wireless device like a cellphone can have a
built-in camera, why can't a camera have built-in wireless capability?
That's the question Kodak seeks to answer this week
as it ships an unusual digital camera that's able to wirelessly email the
photos it takes, and upload them to a Web site, all by itself -- without the
need for a computer or a cellphone.
The $599 Kodak EasyShare-one camera comes with a
Wi-Fi wireless networking card that pops up from a slot on the top of the
camera to connect with any Wi-Fi network in range. Once connected, the
camera can email pictures to friends and family and upload them to Kodak's
EasyShare Gallery photo Web site.
I've been testing the EasyShare-one for several
days, and I like a lot of things about it. The pictures are very good, the
user interface is one of the best I've seen on any digital camera, and the
three-inch color screen is the largest on any digital camera I've tested.
When the wireless capability works, it works well. I was able to email
pictures, and upload them to the Kodak Web site, directly from the camera.
But the wireless features didn't always function
properly in my tests and in some cases required complicated technical work-arounds.
Also, the camera has a few other downsides, including lousy battery life,
especially when using the wireless features.
The EasyShare-one isn't the only camera with Wi-Fi
capability. Nikon is shipping a Wi-Fi camera as well, but, amazingly, it
can't connect to the Internet. Some other digital cameras have built-in
wireless capabilities via Bluetooth. But Bluetooth is a short-range
technology that doesn't connect directly to the Internet, and so it's mainly
useful for beaming pictures to a PC or printer -- something the new Kodak
can also do.
This new wireless Kodak model is part of an
integrated strategy the company is pursuing to tie together its cameras and
printers and the EasyShare Gallery Web site, formerly known as Ofoto. Once
uploaded, the pictures can be stored and shared with others. You can also
order prints of them or gift items emblazoned with them.
Not only can you upload pictures from the EasyShare-one
to the online gallery site, but you can wirelessly download small-sized
copies of photos already stored on the site into the camera -- so you can
review them or show them to others right on the camera's beautiful screen.
Up to 1,500 of these downloaded pictures can fit in the camera's internal
memory if nothing else is stored there.
The EasyShare-one is a handsome, brushed-metal
camera whose screen swings out from the body and swivels, much like the
screens on camcorders. It has a maximum resolution of four megapixels, which
is plenty for consumer photos. The lens features a 3X optical zoom. There's
no optical viewfinder, which is too bad.
This camera can accept a memory card but doesn't
include one. It does come with a relatively generous 256 megabytes of
internal memory. Its startup and shooting speeds are relatively slow but
acceptable for all but the fastest action shots.
A camera with Wi-Fi isn't as convenient for
emailing or uploading photos as a camera phone. That's because you have to
be near a Wi-Fi network or public "hot spot" for Wi-Fi to work. By contrast,
the cellphone networks used by camera phones are much more widespread. On
the other hand, no camera phone has the capabilities or picture quality of a
real digital camera like the EasyShare-one.
When you pop up the Wi-Fi card on the Kodak camera,
it seeks and connects to any Wi-Fi network in range. Then, it downloads the
Web address for the Kodak Web site. After that, you can use the screen and
stylus to select pictures you've taken and email them or upload them to the
site. Emails don't actually contain the pictures. They provide links to view
the pictures on the Kodak site.
This worked very smoothly in most cases. But at my
home, the process failed two out of three times, even though the EasyShare-one
connected smoothly to my very fast home Wi-Fi network. The reason was that
the camera was often unable to download the Web address for the Kodak site.
At first, the company said it was because of problems on its servers. But
the problem repeated itself.
Coninued in article
State-mandated politically correct history curricula
"Schools Pushed on Diverse History Courses," by Michael Gormly, Las Vegas
Sun, September 28, 2005 ---
State legislators across the country are
increasingly directing their schools to teach students more about the
struggles and triumphs of different races and ethnic groups - a move critics
say amounts to politically correct meddling.
In the latest such example, a new commission in New
York will examine whether the "physical and psychological terrorism" against
Africans in the slave trade is being adequately taught in schools. The
commission is named for the slave ship Amistad, which was commandeered by
slaves who eventually won their freedom in the U.S. Supreme Court.
The recommendations could mean rewriting textbooks,
which may influence educators in other states, according to the National
Council for the Social Studies.
Continued in article
News Treasury Designates Seven Al Qaida Associates ---
The U.S. Department of the Treasury designated seven Egyptian individuals
pursuant to Executive Order 13224 for acting for and on behalf of Egyptian
Islamic Jihad (EIJ), a terrorist group that merged with al Qaida in 2001.
Friends in surrounding states like New Hampshire will be "stunning" for
"Ebay to Block Stun-Gun Sales to New Yorkers," by Mark Johnson, The
Washington Post, October 11, 2005 ---
Online auctioneer eBay Inc. will block the sale and
shipment of stun guns and other illegal weapons to New York residents after
working with Attorney General Eliot Spitzer, it was announced Tuesday.
In an investigation that started last year,
Spitzer's office found that eBay users were easily able to buy stun guns
through the company's Web site. Investigators, posing as ordinary customers,
bought 16 stun guns from 16 different sellers on eBay.
The sellers, 14 of whom are from outside New York,
are believed to have sold more than 1,100 stun guns to New Yorkers from
September 2003 to August 2005, investigators said. Included in the sales
were a 900,000-volt Taser International Inc. stun gun valued at $57 and a
$400 "Air Taser" that delivers a 50,000-volt disabling shock through darts
connected by wires to the weapon.
"You wouldn't want these used in either illegal
activities or horseplay," Spitzer spokesman Paul Larrabee said. "Dangerous
devices should not be in the hands of those unable to properly use them and
you certainly don't want them used in any criminal activity."
EBay was never a target of the investigation,
New York residents who bid on an illegal weapon
will receive an electronic warning from eBay that the transaction is illegal
and that any purchase will be reported to authorities.
Anyone bidding on items on eBay has to fill out a
registration with the company that includes the bidder's address.
EBay has also sent letters to stun-gun sellers to
warn them that the sale of such weapons in New York and other states is
Continued in article
Portugal is in a "deep funk" since joining the European Union
"The Sad Latins." by Matthew Kaminski, The Wall Street Journal,
September 29, 2005 ---
Portugal isn't supposed to be in this deep a funk
almost a generation after joining the European Union. Next door, Spain
thrives. After a troubled decade or two in the EU, Greece recently got its
act together. The "New Europeans," those 10 new countries who joined a year
ago, are shaking up the club. Not Portugal.
The problem is the economy. It declined 1% in 2003,
grew 1% last year, and might grow a statistically meaningless 0.5% in 2005.
On the income league tables, Greece last year passed Portugal, making the
country the poorest among the old EU-15, not counting the latest members.
Why did the Irish and Spanish bloom and the
Portuguese not after joining Europe? The disappointment for Brussels, so
eager to claim credit for the "Celtic Tiger" and the "Spanish miracle," is
that EU membership has little and EU aid nothing to do with whether a
It's all about the policies. A generation ago,
Ireland invested heavily in education. Portugal didn't. In the last decade,
Spain carried out a second wave of economic reforms, principally to
straighten out the budget and loosen up labor market regulations. Portugal's
rulers opened the spending spigots.
The hangover from the 1990s party won't pass
quickly. As Portugal met the Maastricht criteria to join the euro zone,
interest rates converged with the rest of the Continent. The Portuguese
people and government felt richer than they in reality were. The borrowing
craze took household indebtedness as a share of disposable income from under
50% in the early 1990s to over 120% today.
The then-Socialist government directed spending at
job-creating public works and threw the budget deep into the red. In 2001,
the fiscal deficit hit 4.1%, breaching the Stability and Growth Pact limits
and bringing EU censure (back then, those rules were enforced). Today, the
fiscal deficit is 6.2% and the government eats up half of GDP. In the last
decade, Portugal grew without improving productivity or building the
foundations for future development. As one former finance minister quipped,
"We spend like the Germans, but we produce like Moroccans."
This debt-induced consumption came to a brutal halt
when the global economy imploded in 2001. In the years since, the world has
recovered, but Portugal hasn't. The infrastructure built up in the 1990s --
the pride of the EU structural aid program -- stands around underused. What
good are all these highways when there aren't enough trucks moving cargo on
As in Italy, it is tempting to blame the euro. The
low interest rates deluded the Portuguese into borrowing beyond their means.
Now the government can't loosen monetary policy to get out of the hole. "If
we were in Latin America or Asia, we'd be devaluing the currency right now,"
says Carlo Almeida Andrade, an economics professor at the Catholic
University in Lisbon. "But I say, 'Look, we'd be in big trouble without the
euro.'" The euro makes Portugal seem stable. Investors are staying put. But
the euro by itself won't fix Portugal's deeper problems.
Continued in article
Please warn your students about some of the dangers in Facebook
(which has nearly 6,000 new students registering per day)
My guess is that many of your students use Facebook,
here is some cautionary advice on using this tool from the Boston Globe.
Jim Borden Villanova University
students open up -- a little too much: Colleges cite risks of frank online
By Sarah Schweitzer, Boston Globe, September 26, 2005 ---
Last school year, Brandeis University junior Emily
Aronoff tapped this sentiment into a computer: ''I enjoy the festive
The reference to marijuana became part of her
profile on facebook.com, the online student catalogue that allows Aronoff
and tens of thousands of collegians to share photos and idiosyncratic odds
and ends of their lives, intended for viewing by other students.
But others were reading as well -- including ''an
individual in the community," she said, who shared the reference with her
parents in Marietta, Ga. Eventually, word reached her grandmother.
''My bubbe," she said, using the Yiddish word for
grandmother, ''told me her seniors home was abuzz with the news, and I was
like: 'I hate the Facebook.' "
As the Facebook has become a phenomenon at schools
across the country -- a virtual bible for campus socializing and networking
-- the unintended consequences of overly comprehensive, brutally frank, or
mischievous entries are surfacing.
Colleges and universities are increasingly taking
steps to help students avoid pitfalls -- most critically, those that put
students at risk for stalking and harassment. At Tufts University this year,
freshmen-orientation leaders encouraged students to omit detailed personal
information from their profiles, such as dormitory room numbers and class
schedules. Boston College plans to do the same next year, and Boston
University has instructed residential advisers on offering guidance on
Meanwhile, Brandeis held an hour-long seminar last
week on Facebook savvy -- recommending safety tips, but also telling
students to consider future employers, professors, or family members who
might read Facebook entries. Indeed, some Brandeis administrators said at
the meeting -- to open-mouthed reactions of students attending -- that they
have begun reading Facebook entries before hiring a student for campus
This was a Tidbit on July 5, 2005 ---
The Facebook: Meeting on campus ain't what it used
Constantly updated by its
2.8 million registered users at more than 800 colleges
and universities, the Facebook takes the local malt shop
social nexus of the 1950s and makes it universal.
Started by three Harvard sophomores in February 2004 as
an online directory to connect the higher education
world through social networks, the Facebook now
registers more than 5,800 new users a day. ''It becomes
part of your daily routine. It's e-mail, the news, the
weather, Facebook,'' said Lucas Garza, a senior from San
Antonio studying aerospace engineering at the Georgia
Institute of Technology. Users of Facebook,
can post a photo and a profile of themselves for
free. The profiles include as little or as much
information as the user desires, including basic
biographies, lists of hobbies and interests, even home
address and cell phone number.
"Facebook an Internet Sensation on Campus," The New
s, July 2, 2005 ---
Also see Also see
From the Scout Report on September 30
With more and more websites offering RSS feeds,
curious users may be looking for a program that can effectively handle all
of this desired information. The SharpReader application will allow users to
corral these various feeds, and also to view connected items in a threaded
fashion. The program can show these connections if they have the same link
or if both items link to the same external webpage. This version of
SharpReader is compatible with all operating systems running Windows 98 or
Bob Jensen's discussion of RSS can be found at
GM at the brink
"High Gasoline Prices, Delphi Woes Pressure GM's Credit Ratings," by Lee
Hawkins, Jr. and Simona Covel, The Wall Street Journal, September 28,
2005; Page B4 ---
General Motors Corp., already saddled with junk
credit ratings, is under renewed pressure from debt-rating firms concerned
about the impact of high gasoline prices and the cost of a potential bailout
of former parts unit Delphi Corp.
Standard & Poor's Ratings Services credit analyst
Scott Sprinzen, at a conference in New York, said S&P has grown more
concerned since it last downgraded GM's rating on May 5. The double-B credit
rating, which carries a negative outlook, could be under pressure. "We're
not feeling all that sanguine about the ratings, even at these revised
levels," said Mr. Sprinzen, an analyst in S&P's auto group.
Mr. Sprinzen's comments came a day after Fitch
downgraded GM's rating to double-B from double-B-plus -- two notches below
investment grade -- mainly because of GM's inability to reduce fixed costs,
high gas prices, and "heightened financial risks to GM associated with
resolution of the Delphi restructuring."
Continued in article
September 30, 2005 message from Scott Bonacker
Some PDF documents include a copy protection scheme
based on unique fonts that don't map to standard latin characters. While
looking for information on that I came across a document spelling out the
standards for long-term storage of electronic documents in Australia.
The document discusses reasons for accepting or not
accepting several document formats based on expected long-term usefulness.
The standards document is at:
And more information is listed at:
Scott Bonacker, CPA
When will a moored palm tree in a tub mark the site of the North Pole?
The floating cap of sea ice on the Arctic Ocean shrank
this summer to what is probably its smallest size in at least a century of
record keeping, continuing a trend toward less summer ice, a team of climate
experts reported yesterday. That shift is hard to explain without
attributing it in part to human-caused global warming, the team's members and
other experts on the region said.
Andrew C. Revkin, "In a Melting Trend, Less Arctic Ice to Go Around," The New
York Times, January 29, 2005 ---
New Electronic Books
Literature Project ---
University of Adelaide Library’s collection of Web books ---
The Essays of Francis Bacon ---
The Complete Works of Christopher Marlowe ---
Online Books Library (including some banned books) ---
The above site is not a free book site. You might identify something like
a banned book and then find it free at another search site ---
Barnes and Noble Book Browser ---
Beowulf in Hypertext ---
Story Code Book Finder ---
Charles Baudelaire (1821 - 1867), and in particular to Les Fleurs du mal
(Flowers of Evil) ---
A Small Anthology of Poems from the English Department of Western Michigan
What is poetry?
Poetry Connection ---
HAIKU for PEOPLE ---
Bob Jensen's links to electronic books and journals are at
Science, Math, and Engineering Humor ---
Fraud Updates ---
For earlier editions of New Bookmark
s go to http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/bookurl.htm
Archives of Tidbits: Tidbits Directory ---
Click here to search Bob Jensen's web site if you have key words to enter
--- Search Site.
For example if you want to know what Jensen documents have the term "Enron"
enter the phrase Jensen AND Enron. Another search engine that covers Trinity
and other universities is at
International Accounting News
(including the U.S.)
AccountingEducation.com and Double Entries ---
Upcoming international accounting
Thousands of journal abstracts ---
Deloitte's International Accounting News ---
Association of International Accountants ---
FASB --- http://www.fasb.org/
IASB --- http://www.fasb.org/
Trite's great set of links --- http://iago.stfx.ca/people/gtrites/Docs/bookmark.htm
Torian's Managerial Accounting Information Center --- http://www.informationforaccountants.com/
Professor Robert E. Jensen (Bob)
Jesse H. Jones Distinguished Professor of Business Administration
University, San Antonio, TX 78212-7200
Voice: 210-999-7347 Fax:
210-999-8134 Email: email@example.com